Use these free STEM activities help students explore thermal energy and heat science.

Images from five student STEM activities that focus on thermal energy and heat, including baked ice cream, making a cooler, solar updraft tower, solar oven, and homemade thermometer

Free STEM Activities to Teach about Thermal Energy and Heat

The following hands-on science activities from Science Buddies' library of STEM Activities for Kids can be used with students in or out of the classroom to explore thermal energy and heat science:

  1. Bake Your Ice Cream: discover how meringue can serve as an insulator to prevent ice cream from melting in the oven.
  2. Build a Pizza Box Solar Oven: experience how the reflection, absorption, and radiation of solar energy can be harnessed for cooking.
  3. Build a Solar Updraft Tower: investigate how solar energy can be absorbed and converted into kinetic energy.
  4. Build a Cooler: experiment with insulators to minimize heat transfer.
  5. Warm in the Sun: examine solar radiation's ability to warm up different surfaces.
  6. Measure Up with a Homemade Thermometer: explore how thermal expansion of liquids is used to make a thermometer.

Get Inspired with STEM Videos

The following videos are from the activities mentioned above. Short videos like these are a great way for kids to see what's involved in a project or activity before starting.

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